A long time abortion provider in Queens is being hit with a 300% increase in patients from Texas since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
“I don’t want women, young girls, people to think that this is not going to happen again. It is and it will,” said Merle Hoffman who worries watching states limit access to abortion.
What You Need To Know
- Choices Women's Medical Center opened in 1971, shortly after New York made abortion legal and two years before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide
- Abortion is currently banned in 12 states. All have exceptions to save the pregnant person’s life, but none have exceptions for rape or incest
- Choices Women's Medical Center is hiring in all areas, including social workers, midwives, and surgical nurses
Hoffman founded Choices Women’s Medical Center in Queens in 1971 — providing abortions and reproductive health care. She opened her doors shortly after New York made abortion legal and two years before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide.
“People say to me, ‘Well you’re okay. You’re in New York.’ I’m not okay,” Hoffman said. “How can I be okay? As long as one woman has to either be forced to bear a child she does not want or cannot access safe and legal abortion, I am not okay.”
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Choices Women’s Medical Center says it’s out-of-state patient count has shot up, from two or three patients a week from Texas alone to at least 10 patients.
“We’re seeing 10, 15 patients a week from Texas and these patients have to get the funds, and fortunately there are feminist groups that have done this, but the money runs out,” Hoffman said.
Abortion is currently banned in 12 states. All have exceptions to save the pregnant person’s life, but none have exceptions for rape or incest. An additional two states ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the overturning of Roe v. Wade a “historic victory for the Constitution and for the most vulnerable in our society.”
But abortion providers argue that decision came when more people are vulnerable because of COVID-19.
One doctor, who works as a medical consultant for Choices Women’s Medical Center, asked to remain anonymous. She fears speaking about her role could put her family’s safety at risk.
“Before COVID, it was fine and then COVID struck and now it’s very difficult to get staff,” she said.
She says over the last two months, Choices Women’s Medical Center has been getting a flood of calls from patients across the country asking if the clinic is still performing abortions.
“There are some people who are still doubting whether this is legal even in New York,” the doctor said. “So, we’re out there ensuring that people know that Choices is here for them if they choose to have a termination.”
More abortion bans are expected in the coming weeks and several states have bans temporarily blocked by the courts.
“It’s going to stress the health care system,” Hoffman said. “It’s going to stress all of us, but we’re going to do the best we can and must rise to this challenge.”
Hoffman says the clinic is hiring in all areas, including social workers, midwives, and surgical nurses.